—World Cup rookie, Julia Ransom, skis into top-20—
OSLO, Nor.—Canada’s Rosanna Crawford has served up countless top-15 results throughout her World Cup biathlon career – never has she done it at the World Championships until Wednesday in Oslo, Norway.
Crawford, of Canmore, Alta., blended a day of nearly perfect shooting with strong ski speed in front of the electric Norwegian crowd camped out alongside the Holmenkollen trails to finish 15th under ideal conditions for a women’s 15-kilometre individual start competition.
“Today was a great day. I had set for myself a realistic goal of finishing in the top-15 so I’m happy that I came away from these Championships with one,” said Crawford, who secured a spot in Sunday’s mass start with the top-30 thanks to her strong performance.
“I had some really good individuals this season so I was confident going into the race, and really just tried to shoot like I do in training, and that worked well for me today.”
Marie Dorin Habert, of France, won the race with a time of 44:02.8 despite missing one shot in her final stop at the range. Anais Bescond, also of France, matched her teammate on the range to finish second at 44:15.0. Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier finished more than one minute back in third with a time of 45:20.6 (1+0+1+0).
The individual competition is one of the most difficult events on the biathlon circuit, putting a premium on shooting. Athletes receive a one-minute penalty for every missed target in their four rounds of shooting. The 27-year-old leader of the Canadian women’s squad missed just one target in her second prone set of shots.
“As I was getting close to the range, I would say to myself ‘okay now for the easy part,’ and that really helped me remember I am a good shooter, and that I love the range,” said Crawford.
A model of progression, Crawford has been knocking on the door to her first World Cup podium over the last quadrennial with a fourth and fifth place finish to go along with a handful of top-10s. She also had a top-15 in the individual at the season-opener in Oestersund, Sweden where she was 13th.
She was in good Canadian company on Wednesday. World Cup rookie, Julia Ransom, shot clean to grab the final spot in the top-20. The 23-year-old Kelowna, B.C. resident clocked-in at 46:36.3.
“I am pumped to be in the top-20 again. It’s nice to be somewhat consistent throughout the year,” said Ransom. “All of us women shot pretty well today, and I think that brings strong energy forward to our relay. The difference must have been the delicious waffles here.”
“It’s great for our team to come away with two athletes in the top-20, and for Julia to have a 20/20 (shooting) day is really exciting for her,” added Crawford. “It’s hard to do that on a normal World Cup day, let alone at World Champs!”
Other Canadian results included: Zina Kocher, or Red Deer, Alta., in 54th at 49:36.4 (1+1+2+0); and Sarah Beaudry, of Prince George, B.C., in 60th with a time of 50:05.1 (1+1+0+0).
The World Championships continue on Thursday in Oslo with the men’s individual event.